Lectures

First in Masks? How Czechs Wore Face Masks When There Weren’t Any Available

This article is part of the series:

On March 18, 2020, the Czech Republic became the first country in Europe to legislate mandatory coverage of the mouth and nose in all public areas in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One could no longer walk down the street, use public transport, enter shops or pharmacies, go to school, or pass through communal areas of shared …

Lectures

Sharing responsibilities, coping with the coronavirus: why Swedish and French response strategies are not that different

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Citizens, governments and academics spend much time these days with one activity: making comparisons.[1] National response strategies to cope with the coronavirus are compared, as well as whether these strategies are based upon expert knowledge and/or political decisions. These comparisons have a strong national focus. Why nations with a large spread of the virus – such as France, Italy …

Lectures

COVID-19, the Freedom to Die, and the Necropolitics of the Market

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Field hospital constructed in Gothenburg, Sweden in March 2020. Photo: Helén Sjöland.

While reading Giorgio Agamben’s (2020) anthropological note on the “danger” of habituation of Italians to bare life under a state of exception invoked in the name of an allegedly “manufactured” crisis, what comes to our minds – also within the broader context of the pandemic and its …

Lectures

Silent Spring in Europe calls for a New Social Ecology

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Deserted streets in Rome, empty dance-halls in Berlin, died-out tourist attractions in Barcelona, and a lonely Eiffel-Tower in Paris: Europe is experiencing its first locked-down spring. It marks an experiential as well as a paradoxical break in our everyday lives. On the one hand, Covid-19 has emerged as a brutal, tragic and unquestionable fact within world society. On the other …

Lectures

Austerity, Not COVID-19, Strains National Healthcare Systems

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Spain and Italy, two of the countries most affected early on by COVID-19, were also among the EU member-states that underwent severe and extended austerity measures following the last global economic recession. These measures significantly weakened publicly funded healthcare systems in both countries, and as it is particularly relevant to understanding the trajectories of pandemic, constrained public sector response. 

The …

Lectures

The balcony: normativity lessons in times of crisis

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The balcony has become a powerful domestic space symbolizing corona-solidarity in the south of Europe. Movie clips of Italians singing their national anthem from their balconies were broadcast worldwide in the evening news. Such a moving and spontaneous event united people quarantined. Italians, too, killed time making and hanging hand-crafted signs from their balconies with the phrase ‘Andrà tutto bene’—everything …